With both his book Decoded and a hits compilation album in stores during the fourth quarter, Jay-Z sat down with the Wall Street Journal to explain being an author, entrepreneurship and where the two intersect. With Decoded’s November 16 release date on the horizon, Jay-Z explained how lyrics—even those to one of his biggest mainstream hits—take on a different meaning after being seen on the printed page.
“Some [lyrics] become really profound when you see them in writing,” he explained. “Not ‘Big Pimpin’. That’s the exception. It was like, ‘I can’t believe I said that. And kept saying it. What kind of animal would say this sort of thing?’ Reading it is really harsh.”
Jay-Z also added that the notion of building a legacy comes up often, and he revealed the personal goal of trying and failing to beat Michael Jackson’s Thriller each time he crafts an album. He also credited the likes of Sean “Diddy” Combs and Master P, citing a responsibility to “make sure that thing is intact for the next generation.”
When the conversation turned to his transition from Def Jam to a $150 million profit-sharing deal with LiveNation, sustaining profitability was a key talking point. Jay-Z pointed to concert dates such as Glastonbury and Coachella as stepping-stones to his recent Yankee Stadium performance with Eminem.
“It’s been two years since the LiveNation deal and I haven’t put out one artist,” Jay-Z added. “But right now Roc Nation is profitable, because we manage and we have a publishing company. So we came up with a plan to put together a touring schedule that would make this thing profitable. We really concentrated on building that profile.”
The full interview, including an exceprt from Decoded and Jay-Z’s plan to throw a concert in New York’s Central Park, is available via the Wall Street Journal’s Web site.